John Willmott School

Business Studies

GCSE Business Studies

This GCSE suits learners who are prepared to apply themselves to a range of challenges as well as preparing themselves to be more financially astute! You are likely to be taking subjects such as GCSE Computer Science, GCSE History and GCSE Geography.

Learners will study a range of organisations. In previous years, we have visited Cadburys, Jaguar, Alton Towers and Drayton Manor Park to motivate and inspire learners.

This qualification is an ideal accompaniment to a broad range of subjects.  Ultimately, everyone works in an organisation and therefore, by studying GCSE Business, learners have an opportunity to gain invaluable skills in all aspects of business.  For example, if pupils pursue a career in marketing, it will be beneficial to have an understanding of cash flows and budgets that they will be constrained by.

This qualification develops a range of transferable skills vital to success in the world of work including taking responsibility for one’s own learning. Learners have Internet access to carry out research as well as programs commonly used in business – Word, Excel Spread sheets and PowerPoint - to prepare reports, cash flows and presentations.

This qualification will form an excellent basis for post 16 study in Business. Learners then can go on to work or University (to take degrees in Graphic Design, Business & IT, Marketing, International Business, Computer science) or a range of careers in Business including Human resources or customer service.

The qualification would suit learners who would like to develop greater knowledge of business. This qualification builds an excellent foundation of skills, adding to a student’s future marketability

How will you be assessed?

2 Written Papers (1 hour 45 mins. each) 90 marks/50%

The topics that will be examined:-

  1. Business in the real world
  2. Influences on business
  3. Business operations
  4. Human resources
  5. Marketing
  6. Finance

What topics will you study?

  • Human resources (including recruitment, training, pay and motivation);
  • Business Finance (including business plans, cash flows, budgets, profit & loss, balance sheet;
  • Marketing (including promotional strategies, pricing, marketing plans and international trade;
  • Operations (including stock control methods, new technology advances, total quality management);
  • Business & its environment (including a range of legal ownership’s – sole traders, partnerships, private & public companies, consumer law, EU, exchange rates)

BTEC Business


The coursework element of this qualification accounts for 75% of this GCSE. A 1 hour online finance exam accounts for the remaining 25%.

The Edexcel BTEC Level 2 in Business consists of 4 of the units below:

  1. Enterprise in the Business World - Coursework
  2. Finance for Business - Online Test (1 Hour)
  3. Promoting a Brand - Coursework
  4. Recruitment, Selection and Employment - Coursework
  • This qualification is an option in Year 8. It combines well with all option choices & prepares learners for the competitive world of work.

Business A Level (Applied AS/A2)

This A level is a respected qualification for students seeking to further their education at University or wanting to enter the world of work - and would suit students who prefer coursework to exams. It is not essential to have studied Business before.

  • The qualification is an A level graded A to E.
  • At the end of two years students successful in 6 units are awarded one A level.

This Business A Level course gives students an incredibly powerful start to becoming a business person.

A lot of people prefer small businesses offering individual service or set up their own business working for themselves. Whether selling homemade cupcakes or starting an e-company, business skills are needed.  Students will study a variety of entrepreneurs and learn about enterprise, business planning, monitoring performance leadership and teamwork, gain knowledge of all financial aspects of running a business as well as how to get products to market, how to price them, how to promote them and how to get paid.


Students’ work is evaluated through a combination of written examinations and internally assessed coursework. The following units are studied during the two years and students produce 4 pieces of coursework and take 2 exams over the two years.

Example Unit - Business Planning - Produce a structured business plan for a new product or service suitable to present to an external lender such as a bank. Enterprise, team working and presentations are just some of the areas that are explored.

Example Unit - People in Business - Students will study the roles and responsibilities of people in business and the qualities an employer looks for in its employees. They will investigate the training and development opportunities available to individuals and why motivation is vital in retaining staff. This unit gives students the opportunity to develop the skills and knowledge needed to carry out the activities associated with the recruitment process.

What does this course allow me to do?

  • This is a well-respected qualification from which students go on to university
  • The qualification would suit students who enjoy or would like to develop a more independent style of learning.  This style of learning is good preparation of university/college. This A level in Applied Business complements ALL other AS/A2 levels including ICT, English, Maths, Law, Psychology,  D & T, Accounts  & Geography.

Business A Level (Applied AS/A2) Double Award

Double award – 2 A levels awarded at the end of the two year course

The qualification is an A level graded A to E. If, at the end of two years students are successful in 12 units they can be awarded up to Two A levels.

This A level builds on the single award in Applied Business so students study three more different units for the double award and would suit students who prefer coursework to exams. It is not essential to have studied Business before.


Students’ work is evaluated through a combination of written examinations and internally assessed coursework.  There are 4 coursework and 2 exam elements/units studied each year.

Topics studied include:- Career Planning, Marketing/Promotion, Human Resources ie recruitment, management styles, motivation at work; Business Plans Finance, i.e. cash flows, budgets, business plans, breakeven analysis, Customer Service, Structure & Organisation of Business, Developing a Product.

BTEC National Award in Personal and Business Finance

This qualification gives an understanding of the essential knowledge and skills needed to help begin or progress in a broad range of business careers with a focus on those relating to finance.

It is usually a 2 year course and entry requirements are four GCSEs (graded A*-C). It is not essential to have studied Business before.

The course consists of four compulsory core units plus a choice of two specialist units totalling 180 guided learning hours.

The structure of the course allows flexibility according to the students interests, such as finance in the national economy, preparing for employment or exploring business activity. Please note that the units studied may vary to meet local or student needs.

Employment opportunities

With the international recognition of BTEC courses such as this, students can progress straight into employment. If successful there are a variety of potential careers available, for example: finance clerk, bank/building society customer adviser or administrative assistant.

Further vocational and academic qualifications

The BTEC National Award in Personal and Business Finance is the equivalent of one GCE A Level and it is possible to progress further into higher education as successful BTEC National qualifications give points on UCAS for university applications.

Mandatory Units:

  • Financial Services for Individuals
  • Business Financial Performance
  • Financial Services to Support Business
  • Financial Services Regulation, Ethics and Trends

Optional Units:

  • Finance in the National Economy
  • Finance in the Global Economy
  • The Business Environment
  • Computer Applications for Financial Management
  • Preparing for Career Progression in Business
  • Learning from a Work Placement in Business

KS5 Applied General Business

This is a qualification for students seeking to further their education at University or wanting to enter the world of work and would suit students who prefer some coursework as well as exams.

Why study Applied General in Business?

  1. They’re a vocational complement to A-levels or Tech-levels.
  2. They’re developed with the support of higher education.
  3. They meet performance measurements for achievement and attract UCAS tariff points.

Applied Business (worth 1 A level) Level 3 Extended Certificate

Learners gain a broad understanding of business topics preparing them for university or the workplace.

Applied Business qualifications:

This qualification provides a broad understanding of business knowledge and skills to support progress to higher education and is suitable for learning alongside other Level 3 qualifications, i.e. A levels e.g. Maths, English, History and/or other Level 3 vocational qualifications e.g. IT. This qualification can also prepare people to take up employment in business and entrepreneurship, either directly after achieving the qualification or via higher education at university or college.

This qualification is supported by the following higher education institutions:

  • Birmingham City University
  • Edge Hill University
  • Staffordshire University
  • University of Bath
  • University of Wolverhampton

Unit summary - 6 units over 2 years

  1. Financial planning and analysis
  2. Business dynamics
  3. Entrepreneurial opportunities
  4. Managing and leading people
  5. Developing a business proposal
  6. Managing an event
  7. Marketing communications